In November 2022, Maria Margarette Villorente, who was 27 years old at the time, was admitted into the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Medical Center in Manila. At 1:29 AM local time, she gave birth to her child, who she named Vinice – the world’s 8 billionth baby
This year, on July 11, the planet celebrated the 33rd World Population Day
since its launch in 1990. The Day, though mostly symbolic in nature, is meant to raise awareness
of the quickly ballooning population in the planet and its dire consequences. According to the global non-profit Population Medica Center, overpopulation
leads to a sharp increase in the demand for essential resources such as food, water, energy, and housing.
In turn, this excess burden – and consumption – can accelerate the destruction of the environment and depletion of natural resources, and trigger conflicts and crises.
Asia is home to population extremes, with China and India on one end of the spectrum and rich countries on the other, while some parts of the region are exhibiting other demographic trends
Since the U.N. started tracking population
numbers in 1950, China had consistently been at the top of its list. The Northeast Asian giant has since imposed a strict, if not overly harsh, limits on family structure with its one-child policy, which it later upended by allowing Chinese couples to have two children
starting in 2016. Despite removing these restrictions, their lessons stuck and China’s population growth continued its downward trend
In April this year, India overtook
China as the most populous country in the world, with nearly 1.43 billion people. This is the first time that China was knocked off the top of the U.N.’s list.
Whereas China’s demography is expected to contract further in the coming years, India is looking at an even greater population boom, at least for several more decades, according to the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ policy brief
. India enacted similar population control measures as China during the 1950s, but a federal government structure allowed local and state authorities to set their own policy priorities, leading to limited, if not conflicting, impacts of national efforts to control birth rates.
Just behind India and China is another Asian country, Indonesia, which ranked fourth
in this year’s population tally, outpaced only by the U.S. Compared to last year’s demographic figures, Indonesia’s population ballooned by 0.74 percent, nearly matching India’s population growth.
Meanwhile, South Korea has the world’s lowest fertility rate
, with each woman giving birth to an average of 0.78 babies over her entire reproductive life. Japan’s birth rate also continues
to free-fall for the seventh year in a row, even as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made stopping the demographic decline a key policy priority for his administration.